A Streetcar Named Desire

Report
A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE
INTRODUCTION
Background on Tennessee
Williams
1. Early life and family
2.
His work
3.
His style (poetic
dialogue, realism,
naturalism, symbolism,
use of light and sound)
TENNESSEE’S METHOD

psychological realism and
realism of setting combined
with anti-realistic devices:




dialogue mixed with direct
address, soliloquy, and
confession
isolation of characters during
set speaches by lighting
projection of words and
pictures to explain or
elaborate the action
frequent use of symbols and
significant names and of
music to enhance mood
STRUCTURE OF THE PLAY
STRUCTURE II
A.
B.
Eleven scenes – no “Well-constructed Play”
sturcture
Emotional Structure
1. arrival and suspicion
(“guerrilla war”)
2. poker and violence
3. Stanley as ape
4. investigation
5. the birthday party
6. Downfall and dignity
CHARACTERS
A.
Blanche – one of America’s
greatest dramatic
creations
1. the fall of Blanche=fall
from elegance/innocence
to desire and degradation
2. frantic, trapped, proud,
determined to survive
3. addiction to baths, strong
drink, cigarettes, and
young men
4. eloquent and educated
5. most courageous (ending)
CHARACTERS
B.
Stella
1. “average woman”
2. forgotten Belle Reve and her background
3. thrilled by Stanley’s
sexuality and drive
4. stays with Stanley,
now with baby—
victim of
her fate—
her desire
CHARACTERS
c. Stanley
1. personification of male sexual energy
2. smart and perceptive
(good salesman,
“destined for success”
and a Neanderthal –
both Stella and Blanche
are right)
3. Battle with Blanche (suspicion
Investigationwar (bus ticket, rape,
destruction)
CHARACTERS
D.
Mitch
1. weak, “momma’s boy”
more sensitive than Stanley (a bit like
Alan Grey?)
2. hopes to replace his dying mother with Blanche
3. weak love (abandon’s
Blanche when he sees
her “in the light”
4. turns his back on love
5. regrets and compassion
in the last scene
THEMES
A.
The search for a home
1. the “unwelcome guest,” the outcast
2. shelter (physical and
spiritual)
3. a place where you are
wanted and where
you belong
THEMES
B.
Love vs. Desire
1. Stanley and Stella
2. Blanche and Allan
3. Blanche and Mitch
THEMES
C. Truth and Illusion (practical vs romantic
physical vs spiritual)
Truth
Illusion
Stanley
Allan Grey
Naked bulb
Paper lamp shade
Stella
Blanche
Poker players
Women
Steve and Eunice
THEMES
C. Truth and Illusion
1. Blanche’s “lies that tell
the truth (or what
ought to be true”;
she never “lied in her
heart.”
2. Stanley’s Truth that destroys
the possibility for love
THEMES
D. The Moral Theme
1. kindness of strangers vs
deliberate cruelty
2. Blanche’s sins vs.
Stanley’s
3. “epic fornications” that
lose Belle Reve
4. Stella’s betrayal and Mitch’s betrayal
THEMES
E. Feminist – View of Women: Virgin vs. Whore
Blanche’s dilemna—has
deep feelings of desire
(sexual) but must
maintain an illusion (50%
of a woman’s charm)
of the innocent flirtatious girl.
THEMES
F. Sex and Death
1. Blanche’s fear of
aging
2. The Title and first line
Streetcar named Desire
--Blanche’s love for Allan
--her “killing” of him
--filling her life with
meaningless affairs—trying to fill the
emptiness of the broken heart
--seducing the student – mustn’t touch the children
THEMES
F. Sex and death (con’t)
1. “transfer to one called Cemetery”
a. Her self-disgust and self hate over
Allen’s death lead to
her downfall (she has
now transferred to the
streetcar name
Cemetery.)
b. At this point in Blanche’s life, the play begins.


Death (symbolized by the streetcar “Cemeteries”) can bring either
heaven or hell.
Blanche can either “ride six blocks and then get off at—Elysian
Fields”, or she can continue, broken spirited, to her final “death”—
a life without desire.
THEMES
F. Sex and Death – Elysian Fields
1. Blanche confesses to Mitch,
with complete honesty, the story
of how she destroyed her young
husband. (Her honesty is significant
because prior to this point, her
relationship with Mitch is based solely on lies.)
2. In response to Blanche’s outpouring of emotion,
Mitch says, “You need somebody. And I need
somebody, too. Could it be—you and me, Blanche?”
3. Through her sobs, Blanche replies, “Sometimes—
there’s God—so quickly!” – but then…
THEMES
G. Universal
The play tries to go below the surface and
show what happens to fragile creatures
(Blanche) in a cold, uncaring, hostile, and
violent world (Stanley). Williams shows little
for “making gentle the savage heart of
man.”
SYMBOLS
A.
Lighting
1. truth
2. age
3. brutal reality
B. The paper lampshade
SYMBOLS
C.
The poker game(s)
D.
Streetcar
E.
Music (gunshot)

similar documents